words: Sarah Hojsak
By now, Pinegrove is well known for making the kind of tunes that strike the perfect balance of relentless catchiness, poignant emotion, and whip-smart insight. The band released Cardinal to instant acclaim last year, and quickly skyrocketed from a basement venture treasured in their home scene of Montclair, NJ into the kind of band that sells out shows around the world and prompts fans to sing along to every word in rapt appreciation. Yet listening to Pinegrove’s songs still feels almost shockingly intimate. From the delicate “Aphasia” to the rousing “New Friends,” frontman Evan Stephens Hall sings often of loneliness, anxiety, and the struggles of navigating relationships, articulating personal troubles in a way that resonates with so many.
The band’s new single “Intrepid” is certainly no exception. The track, from Pinegrove’s upcoming but not-yet-announced second LP, starts out soft and vulnerable -- “Don’t let it get to you, you said. Well, I did” Hall sings with hushed restraint and reflective longing. Even when the song breaks out into the “good middle,” it doesn’t fully unfurl in the way the listener might expect, instead underscoring its message with a persistent tension that makes its aching emotional pull all the more heartwrenching. Nandi Rose Plunkett joins in on vocals, her voice and Hall’s coming together in frenetic harmony as if grasping for something just out of sight. The song quiets again in its final moments, winding down with “If we learned to love ourselves better, maybe we could commit,” a hopeful glimmer mixed in with the frustration.